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The Pachamama Crusaders

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The now famous or infamous online video of the young Austrian men (led by Alexander Tschugguel) throwing the “pachamama” idols into the river may be an action that subsequently speaks louder than the entire official synod on the Amazon. Many of us who earnestly seek to be orthodox in faith and worship could not help but to respond favorably: “Good work boys!” We venerate statues of holy persons, but we do not worship them. These monstrosities crossed the line. Those who allowed false worship and idolatry in the Vatican should race to confession and beseech the mercy of Christ. Critics have been severe in their judgment: “Those who defended their inclusion must be morally and spiritually sick.”

While it was explained to him that they were “signs of fertility, of Mother Earth, and integral ecology,” Alexander Tschugguel saw the idols for what they were, a violation of the first commandment. The Holy Father explained that no idolatry was intended and he apologized to those offended by what the boys did. The first part of the Decalogue is clear:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus 20:2-5; cf. Deuteronomy 5:6-9).

What many of us would consider witchcraft in the Vatican Gardens included a ritual dance around a blanket on the grass upon which were two idols of a naked woman, apparently a pagan goddess. Next to them was a statue of a man with an erection. A female shaman, wearing a feathered headdress, lifted up her hands for an invocation. Her sixteen concelebrants knelt and bowed to the idols that rested upon the blanket.

When the idol was presented to the pope, he crossed himself. The shaman shook her rattle around those assembled. The syncretism of pagan and Christian elements was clear. Although a few churchmen suggested that the idols were depictions of Our Lady of the Amazon (which looks totally different), Fr. Giacomo Costa, an official with the Amazon synod, explained that the wooden depictions of a nude pregnant woman were not of the Virgin Mary, but were figures symbolic of life. Nevertheless, in truth the “pachamama” was reckoned as much more, as Mother Earth or literally “World Mother.”

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Idolatrous intent or not, these are idols and false worship was permitted (there is video proof). This ranks with the biblical scene where the Almighty tells Moses that his people have corrupted themselves.

“They have quickly turned aside from the way I commanded them, making for themselves a molten calf and bowing down to it, sacrificing to it. . . .”

Although made of wood, the “Pachamama” idols signify the worship of a fertility goddess of the earth. This new “golden calf” had no business within the church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. Infuriated by the idolatry, a couple of young Austrian men took the idols from the church where they were on display and threw them into the Tiber River. The images were recovered later and the Pope apologized for what the boys did. I think bishops and priests in leadership need to apologize to the Church and to God. Are we more concerned about not hurting feelings or about saving souls? We should thank the boys for reminding everyone that our focus is on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The passive toleration and extolling of false pagan worship is a sin. My only complaint with the boys is that the figures should have been physically destroyed before being discarded into the Tiber. Were the boys criminals? I would argue that they answered to a higher law. As with the Arian crisis, if the bishops should fall into heresy or fail to act, there is a faithful remnant that will uphold the true faith.

The statues were recovered but not exhibited during the closing Mass of the synod.


2 Responses

  1. Vatican Media interviewed Fr. Paulo Suess, a German priest regarded as an expert on the Amazon. When asked about whether the “pachamama” rites were pagan, he replied: “So what? Even if that had been a pagan rite, what took place was still a worship service. A rite always has something to do with worship. Paganism cannot be dismissed as nothing. What is pagan? In our big cities we are no less pagan than in the jungle. That’s something to think about.”

    Really? It is no wonder we are in trouble when even a priest does not care about violating the first commandment! I think there is a BIG difference between worshipping God and worshipping demons, even those that hide behind the things of nature.

  2. Taylor Marshall interviewed Alexander Tshugguel and asked him why they didn’t first destroy the idols before tossing them into the Tiber. I was glad he asked that, because I had the same question. Tshugguel said their primary focus was to get the idols out of the church. (He also remarked that they would have needed a truck to remove all the pagan stuff.) The other part of his answer he struggled with finding the right words for in English, but I think what he was getting at was that they did not want to be perceived as showing hatred to the people whose idols they were, but simply as clearing out God’s house. His explanation sounded reasonable to me.

    He also said they videotaped it for the purpose of proving that it was a deliberate putting of a stop to idolatry in a Catholic church, and preventing anyone from coming up with an alternate explanation for the statues’ disappearance.

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